Monday, July 26, 2010
Society cultivates its monsters. With its tongue it calls for equality but with its hands it shackles aspirations, condemning itself to a world where darkness rules. – The Book of Tortured Souls, Nomar Knight
What’s in a villain? One need not look far to create a suitable bad guy. I enjoy stories where the villain is created out of necessity. Opposing forces must collide in order to wreak havoc with the protagonist’s simplicity. Conflict when created as a natural result of the action is worth digging into. Take Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. A man’s need to prolong life became warped when he decided to take the place of the Creator himself and create life from dead body parts. Man’s need to live forever cultivated the monster known as Victor Frankenstein. He in turn built a monster that has lived throughout literature.
Not all writers will be able to create such brilliant characters but if we search within society, magnificent characters await, itching for us to tell their tale. There are many things happening around us every day, some of it contributing to real horror. All we have to do is keep our eyes open and our minds receptive to uncovering the madness that sits within our reach.
Science has been advancing at an alarming rate and with its advancements come the promise of a new world. Well, imagine a new world laced with opposite characters that must naturally fight each other to succeed? Ask yourself, what scares you about society? Wouldn’t you want to change how people behave? For centuries madmen delved in unique ways to control mankind only to fall short of their insane aspirations.
Search your surroundings hard enough and eventually a hero will be born. Keep searching and be amazed as the hero’s opposite will emerge, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself sympathizing with the bad guy. Villains can be magnanimous and therefore alluring. Villains can take over a story and become more powerful than the protagonist. It happened to Batman as I sat and watched the Joker become bigger than life. More importantly as he forced society to rethink the delicate fabric it lived by. Now that’s a villain worth meeting, but only in fiction.